|Outdoor yoga, where more is merrier. Source: lululemon|
At the start of the new year the gym regulars are always warned to watch out for the crowds creeping in on our territory. You know, those first two to three weeks of January where the skeletons come out of the closet, sweat it out on the treadmill or in a group fitness class, then disappear for the next 11 or so months. But unless it's because I changed my schedule to try to accommodate the crowds (swimming an hour before closing, running when I want to watch TV, which is never immediately after work), I haven't encountered as much of this New Year Traffic as I have in the past. Practically none compared to the year where I had to arrive at least 10 minutes early to score a Spinning bike on a Monday night--for three weeks straight I missed out--or fight over ellipticals, treadmills and bikes on the main floor. Until this weekend...
Saturday, 3 p.m., Core Power Yoga. I begged to squeeze my mat in between two guys already situated in their zen-like spaces in the studio--and I wasn't alone in having to do this, more followed. Class was at least five minutes from starting (I know, I could arrive earlier yet that never seems to go as planned), yet you couldn't just roll your mat down in any spare space as is often the case, especially on a weekend afternoon. You had to scout out a spot where you could potentially place your mat, stand in that spot while surveying for back-ups, and hope that your neighbors would notice you and move their mats and weights before you had to ask.
Sunday, 9:30 a.m., Flywheel Chicago. Liz last-minute invited me to join her for a morning workout at this spin spot, and I replied hours later that I'd be up for it if I could sign up before I left the house for the Step Up for Kids. Long story short, my computer was about as awake as I was at 6:45 (moving very slowly) and I didn't see Liz's email until I was driving home from the stair climb. With not enough time to drop the car at home, grab a couple of essentials like more bike friendly shorts and a water bottle and return to Flywheel--plus I was literally driving right by Flywheel on my way home--I thought I'd wing it and try to walk in to class without reserving a bike ahead of time. Well, apparently that would have worked any other weekend but this one. Though there were a few class no-shows, the spare bikes had already been claimed, one by another walk-in. As the front desk staff apologized profusely, though I reassured them that I, still tired from the stair climb, was relieved to be shut out, they explained that I wouldn't have had this problem had I walked in last Sunday and that classes were filling faster this weekend. Hmm, their secret must be out.
Sunday, 3 p.m., Core Power Yoga. Decided to try another round of yoga to stretch out those tight calves and hopefully find more space on my mat than I did the day before. Wrong-O. If I thought Saturday's class was crowded, Sunday's was no better. Usually when one weekend 3 p.m. class is full, the other isn't. At least today I could roll out my mat behind a support pole without too much maneuvering by others.
Sunday, 4:15 p.m., Fitness Formula Club. Sunday afternoon usually isn't too crowded at this gym. The pool, yes, but not the cardio machines. Yet today the floor looked more full: more treadmill runners, more elliptical-ers, filled lanes in the pool.
Between all the fitness friendly events happening in Chicago over the weekend--the lululemon warehouse sale, an indoor triathlon, the F^3 Lake Half Marathon, the Step Up for Kids--and the cold, lackluster weather, I would have expected the same amount or fewer people than previous weekends. Talk about eating my words.
So if this really is true, and it wasn't just coincidence that I counted more people at workouts, I have one question. How did you sweat this weekend?
Photo grabbed from lululemon athletica at flickr.